[ Country-by-Country Reports ]

ICELAND (TIER 2)   [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]

Iceland is primarily a destination country and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for men and women from the Baltic states, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil, and China trafficked to and through Iceland to Western European states for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in the restaurant and construction industries.

The Government of Iceland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2008, the Government of Iceland drafted a national action plan to fight trafficking. However, the government did not demonstrate significant law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Victim identification and victim assistance was a challenge; some victims of trafficking may have been deported without any effort to determine whether they were victims. The government also did not conduct any anti-trafficking awareness campaigns.

Recommendations for Iceland: Amend the criminal code to ensure penalties prescribed for sex trafficking are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape; increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders; provide training for law enforcement investigators and prosecutors on trafficking cases; develop legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face retribution or hardship; develop a victim identification and referral mechanism; consider opening a trafficking-specific shelter to ensure that victims are adequately assisted; ensure that victims are not penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, including immigration violations; and conduct an awareness and prevention campaign focused on both sex and labor trafficking and the demand for both forms of trafficking.

Prosecution
The Government of Iceland demonstrated modest law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Iceland prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor through Section 227 of its criminal code, although prosecutors have never used Section 227 and have instead relied on alien smuggling and document forgery statutes to prosecute trafficking cases. Punishments prescribed for trafficking under section 227 extend up to eight years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent, though not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Police conducted one sex trafficking investigation and one labor trafficking investigation during the reporting period, compared to no investigations in 2007. Authorities prosecuted and convicted no traffickers in 2008, the same as in 2007.

Protection
Iceland demonstrated limited efforts to assist and protect trafficking victims over the last year. Local governments and NGOs identified 20 probable victims of trafficking and less than 10 victims received assistance from government-funded programs. Iceland did not provide trafficking-specific shelters; instead victims were accommodated at a domestic violence shelter. In 2008, the care available under this structure was limited because the government did not provide trafficking-specific assistance that adequately addressed the unique needs of victims of trafficking. Icelandic authorities did not employ procedures to proactively identify victims of trafficking; the lack of such procedures increased the risk that victims were detained, prosecuted, jailed, and deported for immigration violations. Iceland did not employ a victim referral process, though NGOs reported that some law enforcement officers referred victims for assistance on an ad hoc basis. Victims were encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders; two victims assisted law enforcement in 2008.

Prevention
Iceland conducted no substantive trafficking prevention efforts, including measures to increase public awareness of trafficking, during the reporting period. The government did, however, draft a national action plan to address trafficking. Border police at the country’s only international airport provided potential trafficking victims with information about assistance if they find themselves in a future trafficking scenario. The government adequately monitored immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. Iceland has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol
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